- One morning I noticed a crust on one of my female’s nose. It was pretty muddy so I figured it was caked on mud more than anything else. A couple of days later I looked at her nose again. Nope, it wasn’t mud but a really thick scab. Thinking maybe she got a cut I put anti bacterial ointment on it and turned her back out. A day or 2 later I looked at her again. Now both sides of her nose had crusty scabs. Now I know it wasn’t a cut and was something else so I read up on skin problems in alpacas. She ended up fitting the bill for Munge: Nasal Nyperkeratoxic Dermatitis and is common in alpacas under the age of 2.
- The most important ectoparasites infesting/infecting alpaca (Vicugna pacos) and llama (Lama glama) are reviewed. The clinical manifestation and the diagnosis of the different parasitic infections/infestations of Sarcoptes scabiei, Chorioptes sp., Psoroptes sp., Damalinia (Bovicola) breviceps and Microthoracius spp. are described as well as therapies against them. Demonstrating S. scabiei and Chorioptes sp. with available diagnostic methods are challengingly often due to the relatively small numbers of mites that may elicit clinical disease. In Chorioptes sp. infestations it has been shown that alpacas are often subclinically infested. Predilection places are between the toes and in the axillae. The variable response to modern acaricidal treatments emphazises the need of more evidence based studies. The lack of lanolin in the fibres of South American camelids may explain the poor response to topical applications of modern insecticidal/acaricidal products used on other animals. Pharmacokinetic studies of such substances are limited. Few products are licenced although several products that are used and are available for other animals are used off-label. Applying a combination of systemic and topical treatments may produce optimal results. The need to apply treatments against the mange mites more frequently and with higher dosages of some of the acaricidal substances than recommended for other livestock is indicated. Lice infestations are often easier to deal with. Systemic treatment should be applied against suckling lice and topical against the biting lice. All animals in affected herds should be treated at the same time and stringent biosecurity measures following treatment is recommended to avoid re-infections/infestations.
- How to treat mange in alpacas.
- A study aiming to determine the prevalence of Chorioptes sp. mite infestation in the alpaca (Lama pacos) was carried out following confirmation of widespread skin disorders affecting South American camelids in the United Kingdom, and the isolation of this species of mange mite in conjunction with skin lesions from case material referred to the authors. A total of 209 alpaca in nine units in the south-west of England were included in the study. Every alpaca on the unit was clinically examined for the presence of skin lesions. All alpaca presenting with signs of skin disease, as well as approximately one in five clinically healthy, randomly selected, in-contact alpacas were included in the sampled population (n = 83). Superficial skin scrapings were taken from each animal included in the sampled population from six different sites, in addition to a dry swab taken from the ear canal. Of the 209 alpaca examined, 47 (47/209; 22.5%) showed signs of skin disease, ranging from mild alopecia, thickening, crusting and scaling of the skin of the pinnae, to severe and similar diffuse lesions affecting mostly ears, axilla, face and dorsum. Of the sampled population, 33 alpaca (33/83; 39.8%) were positive for Chorioptes sp. mite. Cumulatively, in 29 out of 33 positive cases (87.9%) Chorioptes sp. mites were detected in scrapings taken from the forefoot and/or the axilla. Thirteen out of the 47 alpacas affected by skin lesions (27.7%) were concurrently positive for Chorioptes sp. mite, 20 out of 36 (55%) un-affected sampled alpaca were positive for the mite, and 34 out of 47 affected alpacas (72.3%) presented skin lesions but were negative for Chorioptes sp. mite. Statistical test showed that affected animals tended not to be positive for the mite whilst un-affected animals tended to be positive for the mite. Additionally, there was a highly significant association between lesions, age and mite, in that an increase in the presence of skin lesions and a decrease in the presence of mites with increasing age was observed. Chorioptes sp. mites have been previously observed in the llama and the alpaca, but chorioptic mange was considered a rare condition in both host species. Findings from the present study indicate high prevalence of both the mite infestation and related clinical signs in alpaca in the south-west of England.
- Skin disease in alpacas can be due to a variety of different causes: bacteria, fungi, allergies, nutritional problems, and various parasites. One of these parasites is the Chorioptic mange mite. Chorioptic mange can be a real headache to the alpaca owner. Difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat, this exasperating parasite can masquerade as its cousin, Sarcoptic mange, or hide out under secondary fungal and/or bacterial infections.